No one likes paying more than they have to for anything and if you discover that your energy company is overcharging you, that could add up to a fair amount of money.
Many savvy consumers are now well versed in the benefits of using a site like Gocompare.com to try and find the best prices available on a number of different things but there are examples of where you may not be paying the price that you originally agreed to.
Moving the goalposts
If your current energy supplier raises their prices during your contract period, many consumers believe that they have to take the price hike on the chin and simply look to move when their contract period expires.
A price change can be considered as a change to your original contract and this means that your energy company should not attempt to penalize you if you decide to vote with your feet after the price rise and seek a better deal elsewhere.
If your existing supplier attempts to charge you an exit fee or tries to insist that you pay the higher rate before you intended switch goes through, you should make a complaint.
Quote Ofgem’s standard licence conditions 23 and 24 and also inform your energy company that you want to leave them before the date when their higher prices come into force.
Don’t get caught when prices rise
If you do get caught up in a price increase and have not arranged to switch to another energy supplier at the time of the intended rise, make sure you take a meter reading on the day that the prices rise.
Suppliers often have to estimate how many units you have used up to the cut-off point when prices rise and without accurate data, there is a chance that you could be overcharged for the period before the price rise comes into force.
It is far better to submit an accurate reading you have taken so that you don’t overpay and also so that you know if you have been overcharged.
If you do notice a problem and believe that your energy supplier has made a mistake in the amount that they have charged you, take action to contact them as soon as possible.
Although the Energy Ombudsman is prepared to investigate supplier errors that go back a number of years if you have only recently discovered an overcharging error, the recognized timeframe for contacting your supplier with a query is within 12 months.
As a consumer you have the power of choice and there is always the option to switch to another supplier who is offering a better deal.
It still seems that far too few of us are regular switchers and a staggering 60% of people surveyed by Which? Magazine stated that they have never switched supplier at all.
There is always a fair chance that you could save some money by switching so if you find your current supplier is overcharging you, vote with your feet and find a better deal elsewhere.
Matthew Ryan has extensive experience working within the energy industry. He particularly has enjoyed watching the transition of the industry as it moves toward cleaner and greener fuels. Now enjoying a sabbatical from work while he explores his options in life, he spends more time with his young son and he writes articles to keep his mind active.